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Guide to the 38 Bach Flower Remedies

  • Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face
  • Aspen – fear of unknown things
  • Beech – intolerance
  • Centaury – the inability to say ‘no’
  • Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions
  • Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way
  • Chestnut Bud – failure to learn from mistakes
  • Chicory – selfish, possessive love
  • Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present
  • Crab Apple – the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
  • Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility
  • Gentian – discouragement after a setback
  • Gorse – hopelessness and despair
  • Heather – self-centredness and self-concern
  • Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy
  • Honeysuckle – living in the past
  • Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something
  • Impatiens – impatience
  • Larch – lack of confidence
  • Mimulus – fear of known things
  • Mustard – deep gloom for no reason
  • Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
  • Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort
  • Pine – guilt
  • Red Chestnut – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
  • Rock Rose – terror and fright
  • Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
  • Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives
  • Star of Bethlehem – shock
  • Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
  • Vervain – over-enthusiasm
  • Vine – dominance and inflexibility
  • Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences
  • Water Violet – pride and aloofness
  • White Chestnut – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
  • Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life
  • Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy
  • Willow – self-pity and resentment

Fear

  • Terror – Rock Rose
  • Fear of unknown things – Mimulus
  • Fear of mind giving way Cherry – Plum
  • Fears and worries of unknown origin – Aspen
  • Fear or over-concern for others – Red Chestnut

Loneliness

  • Proud, aloof – Water Violet
  • Impatience – Impatiens
  • Self-centredness, self concern – Heather

Over Sensitivity to Influences and Ideas

  • Mental torment behind a brave face – Agrimony
  • Weak-willed and subservient – Centaury
  • Protection from change and outside influences – Walnut
  • Hatred, envy, jealousy – Holly

Over-care for the Welfare of Others

  • Selfishly possessive – Chicory
  • Over-enthusiasm – Vervain
  • Domineering, inflexible – Vine
  • Intolerance – Beech
  • Self-repression, self-denial – Rock Water

Uncertainty

  • Seeks advice and confirmation from other – Cerato
  • Indecision – Scleranthus
  • Discouragement, despondency – Gentian
  • Hopelessness and despair – Gorse
  • “Monday morning” feeling – Hornbeam
  • Uncertainty as to the correct path in life – Wild oat

Despondency or Despair

  • Lack of Confidence Larch Self-reproach, guilt – Pine
  • Overwhelmed by responsibility – Elm
  • Extreme mental anguish – Sweet Chestnut
  • After-effects of shock – Star of Bethlehem
  • Resentment – Willow
  • Exhausted but struggles on – Oak
  • Self-hatred, sense of uncleanliness – Crab Apple

Insufficient interest in present circumstances

  • Dreaminess, lack of interest in present – Clematis
  • Lives in the past – Honeysuckle
  • Resignation, apathy – Wild Rose
  • Lack of energy – Olive
  • Unwanted thoughts, mental arguments – White Chestnut
  • Deep gloom with no origin – Mustard
  • Failure to learn from past mistakes – Chestnut Bud

The Pregnant Family

There are all sorts of therapies that offer something to mums-to-be. Among them the Bach flower remedies are particularly useful because they act directly on the emotions, which are of course often in turmoil during and after pregnancy. Being completely safe they are often a first choice when physical and mental demands get too much.

But mums-to-be aren’t the only ones to suffer during pregnancy and its aftershocks. Dads suffer too, and so do elder brothers and sisters. Fortunately the remedies can help them as well. For example:

  • Walnut is to help the family cope with the changes going on. Whether the change in question is a house turned upside down by the new arrival, or simply a restricted diet of baked beans and oven chips while mum is recuperating in the maternity ward, Walnut is the remedy to help everyone rise above these outside influences.
  • Holly is the remedy to help where the kids show jealousy or spite towards the new baby.
  • Chicory is for the child (or dad) who likes being the centre of the family’s love and feels rejected and hurt when people make a fuss of the new arrival instead of him.
  • Elm is for capable people who feel temporarily that they can’t cope when there are extra demands made on them – so new dads might benefit from this, or any dads who are having to cope with the kids while pregnant mum has a lie down.

Most men these days are keen to be good dads. This can lead to feelings of guilt if the demands of their careers force them to take a back-seat during and after the pregnancy. This problem is made worse by the fact that for a time at least the man will almost certainly be the only breadwinner. He may need to work more hours so as to make up for the loss of his partner’s earnings. If he tries to fit too much into the day then tiredness and stress are the inevitable results. Pine is the remedy for guilt, while for overwork Oak is the remedy for the relentless plodder who never gives in, and Vervain is for people who take on extra hours with perhaps too much enthusiasm, maybe as a way of showing what good providers they are. Olive is always useful where physical tiredness is a problem but if possible the underlying emotional cause should be treated as well.

Guilt can also be a problem where work comes to seem a refuge from an irritable, pregnant wife or from the mess and noise created by the new arrival. Dad may find himself inventing reasons to stay at work. Again, Pine can help bring a sense of fairness, balance and responsibility back while at the same time reducing the negative effects of guilt.

The key in all cases is to treat the personality and the emotional states of the person concerned. So it doesn’t matter if you are selecting for dad or for one of the kids – the important thing is to look at the individual and how he or she feels.

With children – even very young children – this is not too difficult to do, since they are usually quite prepared to say what the problem is. But if there are problems, or if the child is too young to understand what you are getting at, then you can get a lot of information just by playing with the child and looking at how she or he responds to things. Is she timid and shy (Mimulus) or bossy and determined to get her own way (Vine)? Does he fly into a temper when a toy doesn’t work properly first time round (Impatiens), or does he continue to try in a methodical way to get it to go (Oak), or simply give up and not seem bothered whether it works or not (Wild Rose)?

As for dads, with some the real difficulty can be getting them to admit that they have any emotions at all, let alone negative ones. Those who laugh off the idea that the new baby might be putting them under stress, and turn every attempt at a serious discussion into a joke, would be candidates for Agrimony. This is the remedy for people who hide their worries behind a smile. Others may go the opposite way and lose all sense of proportion. If they are so wrapped up in their problems with the new baby that they provide their colleagues with minute and exhaustive accounts of the baby’s faecal exploits when they should be chairing a management meeting, then Heather is the remedy to help them recover the ability to see beyond their own concerns. It’s as well to give this remedy early, if it’s needed, before people start avoiding the poor man.

When it comes to actually taking the remedies, there are two main ways to do this. The first is to get hold of an empty 30ml dropper bottle from Aromansse. Put two drops of each selected remedy into the bottle – you can mix up to seven different remedies together if you need to – and top it up with still mineral water. Then from this bottle, known as a treatment bottle, you take four drops, four times a day.

The second way of taking the remedies is to again put two drops of each selected remedy into a glass of water, and then take sips from this throughout the day, at least four times during the day.

If you are using Rescue Remedy like this, add four drops instead of two.

Rescue Remedy? Don’t leave home without it! Rescue Remedy is the emergency remedy, for everyday crises and disasters, and any time when you are feeling particularly highly strung or under pressure. It is actually a mix of five individual flower remedies, including Star of Bethlehem for shock, Clematis for faintness, Impatiens for agitation, Rock Rose for terror and Cherry Plum to help you keep your self control. It isn’t a panacea, of course, and it’s always better to treat the underlying causes of emotional states by using the individual remedies. But when things are getting tough, the tough reach for Rescue. And it should certainly be part of the kit you have packed in the car ready for the midnight dash to hospital. Four drops in a cup of water, or on a cold compress, will help to steady dad’s nerves as delivery time approaches. And if she can prise the bottle off him, mum will find it a help as well and may be able to cope with rather less gas and air than she was expecting.

Further reading

  • Growing Up with Bach Flower Remedies by Judy Howard (CW Daniel Co Ltd)
  • Bach Flower Remedies for Men by Stefan Ball (CW Daniel Co Ltd)
  • Bach Flower Remedies for Women by Judy Howard (CW Daniel Co Ltd) .
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